Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Brother homeless and off meds

My brother who is 55 now has had schizophrenia since junior year of high school. Has been hospitalized several times. My parents always protected him. After my parents divorced he lived with my dad until he passed away. Came to live with my mom after that in 2014. He has maintained his illness well, on Clozapine and would drive himself for blood tests, was not able to work because of side effect of excessive sleep. A few years ago his psychiatrist who was great retired and he got an awful heartless one.

Since Covid lockdown his schedule got totally messed up and he could no longer talk to his psychiatrist in person and had to do it over the phone. He has been off his meds for year and half now and been hospitalized 3 times. I had to do the heart wrenching job of calling the crisis center to have him evaluated and hospitalized. Each time because of patients rights and privacy laws, I was not able to be involved in his treatment. He would refuse to take meds and then eventually discharged within a few days. Unless I tell them he’s violent to himself or others he can not get the help he needs.

Last time he was discharged and came home he pushed and punched my 86 year old mother on the back! I had to remove her immediately to an apartment. I called the crisis center and same cycle happened.

I need to sell the house and since he was living there by himself last time he came home, he has completely destroyed the place almost to the point that it could be condemned. He is now living on the streets and won’t take his meds or go to a shelter. The law here is if doesn’t want to go for treatment or go to assisted living place to be treated voluntarily I can’t do anything! I am desperate and scared for my brother. How can I help him, he says he’s on meds but still very psychotic, delusional, not making any sense. I feel like I have no options. If anyone has experienced similar situation if they can share what they did I would really appreciate it. Thank you

Hi bro66. I am very sorry you are facing such an impossible situation. Up until very recently (last week) my son, who is now 26, has been suffering through his illness with no medication. He left home and ended up on the streets five times in major European cities. I do believe he was actually attracted to that lifestyle. Each time it took considerable work to get him back home. I never judged or argued, just left the door wide open. Supplied him with several cell phones (as well as sleeping bags and other practical items) just to keep the contact. He has been off the streets for more than three years now. I think that he eventually worked out on his own that whatever benefits he was getting from that lifestyle were outweighed by the hardships. The last time he came home it was like a split second decision. My husband and I had been staying in the city where he had been living and just trying to hang out with him. My husband suggested for the 100th time that perhaps he might like to come home for a bit and just like that he said ok. We didn’t skip a beat, just headed for the car.

Thank goodness you were there to help your mother. That is terrible about the house, but not surprising. Must be so disheartening to see. Sometimes I find that concentrating on the practicalities of life (like selling a house) eases my angst over the situations we find ourselves in.

I wish you and your family good solutions to all of the challenges you are facing.

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Thank you so much for sharing your experience about you. That must tear you apart not knowing where your son is. Is he still not taking his meds? If he is how were you able to convince him or what incident helped to realize that he had to be on meds?
Glad you were able to convince him to come home for a while.

He has only been on medication for the briefest of times when he was hospitalized on two occasions. We are now on our third hospitalization and this has been a longer stay because he tried to kill himself. His time in the streets seems to be in the past now (I think only because he realized that staying with us was so much more comfortable), but we are very much in the thick of how are we going to stay on the meds after release. So I have no answers there. I am learning from others though, right here on this forum.

Oh no! That is my biggest fear. I try to put my blinders on and just look at the task in front of me, otherwise I’ll have a panic attack or have a nervous breakdown!
I am praying for your family especially your son.

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You can’t. This is what people who don’t deal with a family member with mental illness can’t understand why you can not get him help. He’s an adult and it’s usually people who do not understand mental illness passinese laws that make it impossible for family members to get family members help. When I hear on the news someone with a mental illness did something wrong and people say why didn’t their family get them help. I just want to scream because they have no frigging idea what we do to help them. So sorry you are going through this

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